Mikhail Belikov Photography (nature, adventures, travel)

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Kayaking North Vancouver Island Straits Solo


I departed at around 10:00am and headed for Swanson Passage between Swanson and Crease Islands. With no creeks along the way, I had filled in one of my dry bags with fresh water at a resort and carefully placed it vertically inside the kayak, behind my seat, to minimize the spillage.

Timing my entrance into Swanson Passage was critical to avoid adverse or too strong tidal currents. Fortunately, I had passed through it as planned, when the tidal current just started flowing north.

After leaving the passage, I took course for Owl Island, planning to go around it and then head for Sedge Islands, my final destination for the day. With numerous picturesque islands along the way, I was frequently taking pictures.

When I got close to Owl Island, I was surprised by the strong opposite current along its shore. I had to fight it for sometime and even thought at one point that I might have to abandon the effort, camp in the vicinity and try again next day, with the following tide. After much labor, I had passed the island and later rounded the west point of adjacent Fire Island. The current had eased thereafter. I had switched the GPS on and with its help had reached the island in the Sedge Islands Group where I planned to camp. The campsite was at the end of a long and narrow cove with the entrance on the south-west side of the island. Although facing the open ocean, the cove was well protected from the waves, thanks to its narrow entrance, an island in front of it, and kelp fields. The cove was several hundred meters long and the only suitable place for a tent was on a narrow strip of grass at the cove end.  A pile of driftwood made the view less pleasant and access to the campsite from water difficult.

The tide was low. It took me an hour to move all my belongings from the water edge to the campsite, walking long distance back and forth, balancing on the logs and navigating through the driftwood.

Finally, the tent was up on the patch of grass, with the solar panel next to it recharging batteries.

I cooked late lunch and tried to get a bit of rest in the tent, as it had been a long and tiring day. It was so hot, however, that I only found relief lying outside on the grass, on the sleeping pad and inside my sleeping bag insert, to keep the bugs away. One hour later I was refreshed, ready to explore the island.

The island was clear-cut logged many years ago. It was now all covered with the dense and almost impenetrable young forest. One tree was growing from (or through) the old stump.

I had also found a developed campsite with a fireplace inside the forest, closer to the south side of the island. A good trail connected it to a pretty bay facing southeast. Although much smaller and less deep than the main cove, this bay was protected by a large island offshore, offering a convenient access option to the forest campsite.

There was a good deal of animal scat on the island, on the beach where I camped and in the forest, concentrated under one tree. It looked like dog scat, with some fur inside. The good news for me was that it was likely left by a small animal.

After returning from a walk, I had finished my dinner and planned my next day, dedicated to exploring the nearby islands, photographing and getting more practice kayaking in the open ocean.

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